Panic or prayer? The choice is yours

What is the biggest decision we are facing right now? I understand that in a matter of days we go to the polls to select the next president of the United States. No question, that is a big decision.

But I would like to suggest to you it’s not the biggest decision we are facing.

Even in light of global terrorism, a refugee crisis, racial tension and economic uncertainty, there is still a bigger choice in front of us. Our tendency, in these moments when things seem so uncertain, is to panic.

At an important time in the life of God’s chosen people, God provided the answer needed for when things look bad. He simply put it this way, “… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

And with these words, God offered his people a choice. When things look bad, you can either panic or you can pray — your choice. Panicking will lead only to further turmoil, strife and hardship. On the other hand, the power of prayer will unlock the help and healing that’s actually needed.

But this kind of prayer God is talking about is not easy. It requires people to acknowledge both who God is and who they truly are, humble themselves and pray.

By the way, there was also one other important requirement God said needed to happen. It’s one God’s people did not always like, and it’s one we struggle with as well.

God required his people to turn from their wicked ways, so that he could forgive their sin and heal their land. In other words, people cannot simply pray that God would hear their prayers, while at the same time refusing to turn from all that they are doing wrong. It simply doesn’t work that way.

On Aug. 14, 2008, in downtown Indianapolis, I took my oath of citizenship. For the first time in my life, I placed my hand over my heart and recited these words:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I truly believe we are one nation under God, a people who historically have recognized God’s place in the blessings we have received and enjoy. However, we are at a critical point in our history, where we once again face a choice. And the most important decision we face right now is not Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It’s will we panic or will we pray? And should we choose the road of prayer, are we willing to do our part and turn from our wicked ways, that God may hear from heaven and heal our land?

Will we choose to invite God into all the problems and decisions before us, or will we choose to go it alone, thinking we know better?

Regardless of how the next election may go, I have decided to choose prayer, not panic, and am inviting you to do the same. To be a people, once again, called by his name. One nation under God.

Brad LeRoy, originally from Canada, is lead pastor of Harvest Church in Mt. Comfort. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.